noun, plural shan·ties.

a crudely built hut, cabin, or house.


of, relating to, or constituting a shanty or shanties: a shanty quarter outside the town walls.
of a low economic or social class, especially when living in a shanty: shanty people.

verb (used without object), shan·tied, shan·ty·ing.

to inhabit a shanty.

Origin of shanty

1810–20; probably < Canadian French chantier lumber camp, hut; French: yard, depot, gantry, stand for barrels < Latin cant(h)ērius rafter, prop, literally, horse in poor condition, nag < Greek kanthḗlios pack ass
Related formsshan·ty·like, adjective



noun, plural shan·ties.


or chant·y, shan·tey, shan·ty

[shan-tee, chan-]

noun, plural chant·eys.

a sailors' song, especially one sung in rhythm to work.

Origin of chantey

1855–60; alteration of French chanter to sing; see chant Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for shanty

hut, lean-to, cottage, cabin, shelter, shed, camp

Examples from the Web for shanty

Historical Examples of shanty

British Dictionary definitions for shanty



noun plural -ties

a ramshackle hut; crude dwelling
Australian and NZ a public house, esp an unlicensed one
(formerly, in Canada)
  1. a log bunkhouse at a lumber camp
  2. the camp itself

Word Origin for shanty

C19: from Canadian French chantier cabin built in a lumber camp, from Old French gantier gantry



shantey US chanty or chantey (ˈʃæntɪ, ˈtʃæn-)

noun plural -ties or -teys

a song originally sung by sailors, esp a rhythmic one forming an accompaniment to work

Word Origin for shanty

C19: from French chanter to sing; see chant


noun plural -teys

the usual US spelling of shanty 2
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for shanty

"rough cabin," 1820, from Canadian French chantier "lumberjack's headquarters," in French, "timberyard, dock," from Old French chantier "gantry," from Latin cantherius "rafter, frame" (see gantry). Shanty Irish in reference to the Irish underclass in the U.S., is from 1928 (title of a book by Jim Tully).


"sea song," 1867, alternative spelling of chanty (n.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper